We talk of Mother Nature and we reference Father Time. To say Mom Time and Dad Nature feels awkward in our minds. The day after a U.S. holiday in which fatherhood is the celebratory theme, I find myself, once again, pondering. I was more fortunate than many for I could celebrate not just one father, but three. Well, actually, four if I don’t count only the relationship of parenthood to me. I can’t forget my best half who makes a great dad to our fur babe with four feet.
As for fathers in which I am daughter, there is my step-father and my father-in-law, both physically within reach. And there is my father, now watchful from above, over me. Perhaps in that spirit of Time, it is appropriate how rapidly nine years has sped by. Yesterday the ninth Father’s Day since dad left our physical sides. We are nearing the tenth-year mark when dad determined it was his time to leave. His body tired, his heart exhausted, his soul at peace. In that way that death is not goodbye, but is see you in new ways, I think I have more conversations now with dad then prior to 2008.
Among the many things I love about life’s flow is that it doesn’t let cultural influence determine the path it takes. It doesn’t rely on what should be in respect to national holidays. Instead it threads messages and moments to lead us to choose how we decide to see. It offers walks with grace and gratitude as our opportunities. Yesterday I was like the squirrel that gets to store up a collection of nuts for a winter’s day. I was collecting images and words to set today’s stage. There were the pictures of daughters and fathers, walks down memory lanes. There were the words “stubborn as a rock” that made me laugh as I raised my hand, too. The comment not about me, but the words a familiar truth. I can still see the essence of the words I wrote in tribute to my dad. At times we thought him stubborn…the gift I learned is determination, will, only can.
I didn’t feel a void yesterday, perhaps because dad entered my time with Silence to talk with me. I have been relishing seeking wisdom from elders recently. It seemed appropriate on Father’s Day to seek dad’s wisdom – both of us having grown in it since I whispered go in peace. A father now able to share to a daughter who has grown in her listening. In the stillness in which I am blessed to affirm death is not goodbye, dad will periodically bring another gift by his side. He walks with our ‘ole boy’ Hans, our German Short Hair that was our first child in a fur coat. Two important men in my life, each with a spirit strong and bold.
This morning as I am running in Mother Nature’s sweet embrace, I thought of a conversation last week that took place. It was a discussion about how men aren’t encouraged to show a sensitive side. Ah, that power of culture to keep emotions hidden and held tight. I thought of how I don’t remember seeing my father cry. Hindsight many years later provides a deeper understanding of why. We see Mother Nature as strong in her storms, gentle in her breeze. We allow Mother Nature to be both courageous and soft equally. Yet, do we hold open our hearts, our minds, and our eyes and our ears, too? To allow men the same grace to be both pillars of strength and moved to compassionate tears in what they do? If we see sensitivity in a male, are we touched comfortably? Or do we find ourselves feeling a stretch out of how we think “they are supposed to be”?
As I look around at Mother Nature’s wide-open arms among the leaves and trees, I am starting to look again at what else I see. I am thinking about the power of language in how it can invoke certain images and descriptions of things. I am not sure about you, but a mourning dove can make me think female and a blue jay can make me think male, though both species are inclusive of both. In fact, the physical beauty in many winged friends is found in the males, as we know.
Here is a tree, solidly rooted in place, its bark firm to withstand the cold and rain it may face. Amid the soft needles is this tiny mushroom rising towards the sky. An additional softness in partnership with its protector by its side. Perfect harmony, don’t you think? Strong and sensitive, bold and gentle equally. Perhaps it is Mother Time Nature and Father Nature Time? Or perhaps All as One in Nature through Time’s Seasons – the beauty of life.